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  CSPAN    Key Capitol Hill Hearings    Speeches from policy makers and  
   coverage from around the country.  

    February 26, 2014
    5:00 - 7:01am EST  

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assistant attorney and undercover and narcotics executive and deputy sheriff, and i thank him for joining us today. thank you for being here. piper carmen is with us, author of the "new york times" best selling memoir "orange is the new black: my year in a women's prison," it was recently adapted into a netflix original series. she works at the communications consul at that particular time for nonprofit organizations and serves on the board of women prisons association, spoke and written about prison issues in media outlets and received a 2014 justice trail blazer award from john j. college center for media crime in justice. thank you for being here. president of the justice fellowship, public policy affiliate at prison affiliate advocate principles for restorative justice found in the bible. he served as haven't and
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director of external affairs, and he served in the mission house of representatives elected speaker, lives in michigan with his wife, stacy, and three young daughters, and i thank you and justice fellowship for your appearance here today. mark levin, at the texas public policy foundation, playing an important role in adult and justice reforms, and the state, the leader of the public policy foundation, right on crime initiative, led conservative efforts to reform the criminal justice system. he was law clerk to judge will garwood on the fifth circuit and staff attorney at the texas supreme court. thanks to the texas public policy foundation's work led to reforms of the drug sentencing law and in particular, i thank you for your support for the sentencing act, which all members here today have cosponsored. damon, a witness before us, in
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late september, he was mission's 141st death row inmate to be exonerated on actual innocence grounds since the spring court reinstated capital punishment since 1976. he was released from the louisiana state pent ri after 15 years in solitary con findment. his release supported by the district attorney's office, responsible for the original prosecution. following release, he relocated to minneapolis working, obtained a ged, got a commercial driver's license, and then began truck driving career with the truck company, and i'm sorry what you've been through, sir, commending you for what you did to rebuild your life. amazing story. thank you for the courage to appear here today, and we'll hear testimony here in a couple moments. you have five minutes, and i read the written staples, and i commend them. they are extraordinary
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statements. five minutes to summarize, if you would, and then we'll ask a few questions after the whole panel. >> thank you, mr. chairman, ranking member cruz, and distinguishing members of the committee. it's an absolute honor for me to be here. i'm rick, the executive director of the colorado department of corrections. i was appointed by governor john to fill the vacancy left by the former executive director who was assassinated in march of last year. in a horrific irony, he was assassinated by an individual who had spent simple years in administrative segregation and was released directly from segregation into the community which is an absolute recipe for disaster. the other irony involvedded here is that he had dedicated his short time as the colorado department of corrections on reducing the large number of individuals in the system that
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were in segregation. in fact, colorado, was one of the leaders, unfortunately, of incarcerating people in administrative segregation. i was picked because i had the same vision in wisconsin, was able to do things there, this gives me the opportunity to continue that vision. having spent some time in administrative segregation myself recently, it just reenforces feeling about it, and these are my feelings. thirty years in the criminal justice system that segregation is overused, misused, and abused, and what i feel is that we are failing in this particular area in our missions, and in our mission really is not about running more efficient institutions, although that's certainly something we want to do. that's something we need to do,
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but that's not our primary mission. 97% of all of our inmates return back to the community, and out of those 9 p 7%, some have been in administrative segregation, and our duty and primary mission is very simple. make a sacred community, and the way we make a safer community is by having no new victims, and the way we have no new victims is by ensuring the people we send back into the community are prepared and dedicated to being law-abiding citizens rather than returning in worse condition than they came in, and that's where i feel we're failing. some of the things we've done in colorado, i was charged by the governor with three tasks. eliminate or reduce the number of major mentally ill in the segregation area, and what we did last spring, for example, 50 were in seg, and this january, there were four. the second challenge was to eliminate or drastically reduce
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those released directly from segregation into the streets. i might ask anyone in the audience to stand up if they want to live next to someone released in direct segregation into the street, and i'm pretty sure people stay in the chairs. what we were able to do in 2012, we released 140 directly into the streets and in 2014, we released two so far. in the other area challenged by the governor is look at everyone else in administrative segregation and see if you determine the numbers of of those released, and we've done that. that was started by executive director which was continued by me. in january of 2011 #, we had 1451, and in january of 2014, we have 597. in a sense, i don't feel i'm replacing him. i feel i'm fulfilling his vision.
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that's what we're doing in colorado. i believe that nobody should be release the directly into the community, and what we are doing all can be doing. i don't disagree with thinking said, i knew him for quite some time, and working with the association and state correctional add strags correction association, we've done a lot of work with best practices. throwing a few things out there as i run out of time. for some reason, we think for this, they are in a cell 23 hours a day. who defines that? there's probably some of your court cases that mandates that's what happened. why suspect it 22 hours a day, what about 20 or 18 hours a day? start at 23 and work down to ten, that's what we're going to be doing. it's been automatic for the most part if someone on death row stays in segregation physical they are put to death, and as we know, a person spends many years, and some are found
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innocent and released. we'll change policy on that giving them the opportunity to get out of the cells. where reare in colorado, only extreme violence, a small handful, all we talk about, are those who remain in administrative segregation, but we don't give up on them. we have to continue to find a solution for the problems because as i sat in the cell for 20 hours, my response was this is not a way to treat an american. it's not a way the state should be treating someone, and it's not a way the nation should be treating someone, and intergnarlly, it's not a way to treat someone. this is receiving the right amount of attention now at the right time, and i think it's time we move this forward. thank you. >> thank you. i might say to those gathered here, roll call vote started so colleagues will leave to vote. there could be interruption for recess because of role call, but
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we'll be back shortly to resume. >> chairman durbin, ranking member cr cruz z, distinguished members of the committee, thank you for having me here to address this important issue. i spent 13 months as a prison in the federal system. if you're flail with the back, i was never held in isolation unit. the longest amount of time i was placed alone in a holding cell was four hours, and i was ready to climb the walls of that small room by the end of that. i am here today to talk specifically about the impact of solitary confinement of women on women's jails and detention centers. they are the fastest growing segment, and their families and communities are affected by what happens behind bars. at least 63 #% of women in prison are there for a nonviolence offense; however, some of the factors that contribute to these women's incarceration end up landing them in solitary confinement.
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during my first hours of incarceration, warnings about solitary or the shoe came from both prisoners and staff very quickly, and very minor infractions could send you to the shoot. they can then keep you there as long as they want under whatever conditions they choose. unlike the normal community of prison, 24 #-hour lock dop leaves you in a six by eight cell for weeks or months or years, and this is unproductive for individuals, for prison institution, and the outside communities to which 97% of all prisoners return. several factors make women's experience in incarceration and solitary different from men. women in prison are much more likely than men to suffer from mental illness making being put into solitary confinement much more likely and damaging. the majority of women prisoners
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have a history of mental illness, and 97% do. she spends the first year of the six year sentence in solitary confinement. you have her full written statement. i'll share a few words of hers with you. i spent three quarters of the time on a bunk with a blanket over my head in the fetal position rocking back and forth for comfort. i can separate mind from body. i cried a lot, not for me, but for my kids. i laughed inappropriately. i got angry at myself. angry at those who abused me and led me to the life of addiction. i felt ashame because i let others abuse my body because i felt i deserved it, felt sorry i was born. felt sorry for all the hurt i caused, but most of all, i felt sorry there was not a rope to kill myself because every day was worse than the last.
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they are sexually abused by staff. .. finally, solitary has a devastating effect on children prisoners. pregnant women should never be placed in solitary yesterday it allowed throughout the u.s.
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most women in prison are mothers. hold d's need to see and his or her mother is one of the ost basic human needs yet visitation for prisoners in solitary is extremely limited nd often all visitation privileges are revoked. isolation should only be used a threat to er is her own safety or that of thers, not when pregnant or suffering mental ills on are reporting abuse. i urge that the federal bureau prisons take action to limit solitary on women and visit as many women institutions as policy and she should include discussions with the women incarcerate the. last week my home state of new announced significant reforms including prohibition of lacing pregnant women in solitary and bureau of prisons embrace states should
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such reforms. thank you for the opportunity to testify and help the address this issue. i'm hopeful it will mark the next step in urgently needed long-term jeff sight and reform. a muffled will mark the next up and evidently needed long-term oversight and reform. >> thank you. as i said to my review the testimony of all the members of this panel. it is extraordinary, and i don't want to miss it. if you could hang around for a few more minutes we will be back. this committee will stand in recess for tenants. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> this airing of the subcommittee will resume. it would have been ten minutes except the senate train broke down. [laughter] we had to walk over the capital. please proceed. >> good afternoon, mr. chairman, ranking member, members of the committee. thank you for revisiting this pressing issue. changing the culture in the prisons will change the culture and our cities and states. the disproportionate and arbitrary use of solitary confinement is not only immoral but they missed the opportunity to break the cycle of crime. this approach doesn't increase public safety and is contrary did justice goals were the criminal justice system,
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accountability and restoration. teaching people to become good citizens red and just give prisoners is a charge entrusted to the correctional officers by the taxpayers. skilled wharton's understand that in sharing prisoners become responsible and productive members of society at large is paramount to the safety of our communities whether inside or outside of the prison walls. part of creating safe communities in cyprus is includes removing said -- prisoners, individuals to buy its societal norms by placing themselves or others at risk. what is being test of the prisoners should be available to them. many in this room know that just -- just disfellowship holder size power and pride crumble when he left being president nixon's council to becoming a federal prisoner, but be -- upon his release from prison his work actually started touring as
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solitary confinement unit in mollah prison in 1979. out of that meeting, senators, is where justice was founded. i am grateful to you, mr. mr. chairman, and ranking member crews for your support, as has been mentioned, of cosponsoring this martian since the act. i believe that mr. colson, if he were alive today, would apply your work in the area. solitary confinement to let in theory, is for the worst of the worst of the prisoners. however, davis says otherwise. case in point is illinois where study was conducted and found that 85 percent of the prisoners were sent to disciplinary segregation for my rules violations. prisoners in these circumstances too often do not have their cases individually reviewed and looked at from oversight. there was an analogy given
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earlier about police officers when they are struck or other things, but it seems that the justice system does a much greater job on the outside of the loss of having accountability and individual review that seriation has had is starkly. when it comes to the discussion about mental illness, regretfully our family, friends, and neighbors suffering are too often punished rather than treated. and i would like to share the story of a man named kevin, a young man i have a privilege of knowing back in michigan who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder when he was 11 years old. fourteen he was pressured by a peer group to holding up a pizzeria with a toy gun. he wound up in an adult prison and spent nearly a year in segregation. he described his experience as an ongoing panic attack and felt as though he was stuck in an elevator that he needed to escape from.
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he eventually tried to commit suicide but instead of helping cavan the prison guards at the time simply increased his punishment because that was all that they were trained and knowledgeable to do. too often our jails have become our country's mental institution i believe that supporting bills such as a community mental health collaborative mental-health fact that senator frank and spoke of earlier will help provide resources to our state, law enforcement community as well as to our state corrections officials when they're encountering in dealing with people other suffering from mental health issues. strategy's from the justice vote the use of segregation is first to use mission house and to
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target anita president of mental illness, developmental the lace and that is at risk of sexual victimization. second, to use alternative responses to the disruptions the outside of segregation. third is to increase the training for the prison staff on methods that promote positive social behavior within the bureau of prisons. jurisdictions in playing the strategy several reduced there use of segregation but have tracked concurrent reactions and the use of force on prisoners and the number of prison grievances. i want to know is that the dca and other organizations had taken a very progressive stance on inviting in an external and independent reviews as is the bureau of prisons. to the senate panel whether it is the internal revenue system of the permanent justice i believe that holding government accountable comes would no expiration date. and the issues of human liberty
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and public safety are at stake we must never give up the launch i would hope that this is at the end of discussion today and that this can be continued including the work with the newly authorized task force on prison reform. it is not the end. this is round two. i don't know how many more there will be, but i want to bring this issue up again. we keep inviting you to these hearings. i find myself agreeing with you more and more and least highlight a few things that i know you disagree on. thank you for coming. let me turn the microphone. >> thank you for your on this. >> and i will note that you did
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find something you disagree with the chairman on. [laughter] >> we are a conservative think tank, but i will tell you that if you believe in making government less intrusive him of personal responsibility and accountability, we have to shine the light in the darkest of places. so i'm pleased to be here today. one of the issues that we feel strongly about is ending the practice of releasing and mist directly from such a confined. a major policy in texas with over 13 and releases. in washington state the study was done on their super max unit that found inmates released directly from solitary confinement with 35 percent more likely to commit a new offense. even more likely to commit a new violent offense. not released from solitary confinement. i want to point of the successes we have seen in states around the country. in mississippi, as that merely a
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solitary confinement. and that has saved them over $6 million because it is less than half the cost. most importantly violence has dropped 70% since then made those reductions. and in maine, for example, they have gone from 1309 to between 35 and 45 today just in the last couple of years. i would i want to know is the corrections commissioner has noted the down side for a solitary confinement has left some sense reductions environment to of violence, restraint shares, inmates can themselves up which used to happen every week. almost totally eliminated as a result of these changes. reducing the duration. those that used to go there for drugs, they may still go, but if they test claim of bacon graduate out of solitary confinement and a summit is being kept for more than 72
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hours a decision is reviewed by the commissioner. i also want to know that one of the keys in texas to reduce in solitary confinement has been the gain enunciation program. announcing their gang. i also want to point out that using sanctions and incentives behind bars is a way to provide for incentives that the inmates to be a better which therefore reduces the need for solitary confinement. one of the models of the parallel universe model. the longer curfew. does that ms. b gave have been denied privileges such as making donegals and access to the mail and other things. this creates a positive incentive. we notice things like the white hope program. there is a 24 hours timeout. we have to make sure we're not
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overusing solitary confinement. one of the strongest incentives is aaron's time. there please that senator corner and, white house, and other members are supporting time legislation, particularly for non-violent offenders. clearly by reducing the number of vendors we can make sure folks have an incentive for good behavior in prison and also by the way as steady shown from. the distress of the supervision. pat a list of recommendations that we would do commending the released directly from solitary confinement which include eliminating rules that deny reading materials. "trading and the escalation techniques. using that power of the universe model that creates incentives. creating the matrix and intermediate sanctions.
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this should get a solitary for an extensive time of for those the cut minor violations in intermediate sanctions that can be used to get their attention incorrect behavior before releases solitary. reducing the number of vendors, time policy, the mission of housing which was mentioned earlier by those soup are in protective custody, former police officers, mentally ill, unfortunately those individuals often end up in 23 hour days sell as is being punished for disciplinary actions and me know that the smaller housing communities can address that issue. if we can address the overcrowding that helps immensely. when you have then piled in day rooms it makes it more difficult . i wanted thank the committee for their work on the essentially believe we are on the path to solutions that will increase our
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order in prisons and make the public safer when these inmates are discharged. >> thank you. again, thank you to the entire panel. special thank you. coming in speaking openly about their own experience with incarceration. i have read your testimony three times. it is compelling and i invite you a few minutes to summarize and then we will ask some questions. >> thank you. chairman, ranking member, thank you for inviting me speak about my 15 years in solitary confinement on death row at the louisiana state penitentiary at angola. i am here because in september of 2011 came the 11,241st death row exonerate says the u.s. supreme court reinstated capital punishment. solitary confinement for 23 hours a day for 15 years between the ages of 23 and 38.
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this is cool -- in my written statement that described the physical and mental torture that inmates suffered. the end kolar often unbearable and normal physical and mental activity coming human contact and access to health care severely limited. as harmful as these conditions of life in solitary is made all the worse because it is often a hopeless existence. things can survive without food and water. they can survive without fleas, but they cannot survive without hope. years on end in solitary, particularly on death row can drain help from anyone but is a solitary there is nothing to live for. i know what had to sell lost my help. after realizing of my existence of billing for years on end. i was on the verge of committing will was basically suicide by state by voluntarily giving my legal rights and allowing the
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state to carry at the sentence of death, something they would have been done only a few weeks after signing the necessary paperwork. my lawyer talked me out of doing that by convincing me that i would be exonerate it someday. and that is why i was ill to regain my health. i was all of the fortunate because i have used borders but if they -- state effectively kills most men in solitary. and can see no reason to subject anyone to this type of existence . no matter how certain we are of their guilt. even if you want to punish some severely we would -- we should refrain from this treatment only because it is the human and moral thing to do. my religious faith teaches that we should be humane and caring
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for all people, st. in center alike. what does this say about us as a nation and even before the law allows the state to execute a person we're willing to let the -- let it kill them bit by bit and day-by-day. i do not condone what they have done but i do not condone what we do to them and we put them in solitary for years on an and treat them as subhuman. they are better than that command a civilized society should be better not. would like to believe that the vast majority of the people in the united states would be appalled if they knew will we are doing and understood that we are torturing them for reasons that have little if anything to do with protecting other inmates and prison guards from the. no matter what else we want to call it. i would like to think that we can all agree that our
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constitution prohibits it. at think the subcommittee for looking at the situation, educating the public about it and employees ten answer any questions you may ask. >> i talked of the inmate that i met that said we get an extra 50 years because they told them to put somebody in this celt i would kill him and i did. it was stunning, cold-blooded. did you run into similar circumstances and other inmates who were that dangerous? >> there was -- there was one. he volunteered for execution, and that is why he dropped his appeals. he stated that if he ever got out he would do it again. >> what is the right thing to do of that can a person based upon where you have seen in your -- i
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don't know how to describe it, and prevalent experience. >> well, i have also -- i have also come in contact with individuals who are in prison, on death row. they make no attempt to profess their innocents. they would prefer life as opposed some death. but someone who would make a statement like that to kill someone that is but an insult them commences leave them in a sell by themselves. you let them out at the appropriate times. you do not just like the men all and forget about it. if i was to do that or you were to do that to someone in euro you would go to prison for that. it is inhumane. >> thank you.
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i know that center and others maries the question about women, incarcerated women. you know the vulnerabilities that they have. think about other categories, those who are being held for immigration efficent -- offenses which are technical violations, not crimes perce. no question about it. and the vulnerability they would have because of language and culture and the threat of deportation. what can you tell us about those women and what they face? >> women have not been convicted of a crime and get are held in consignments for any variety of reasons. that is a horrifying thought. it's used not to control people who are dangerous but as a tool of control within an institution
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when other management tools of an institution, whether it be a detention center, a prisoner, jail would be far more humane and likely more effective. >> was there any recourse at ten bury in terms of person or office that you could contact as an inmate if you sell or fold your being threatened to act. >> if you have contacts with the outside world. different prisoners have different degrees of contact with the outside world. frankly, a prisoner like myself was middle-class and as a lot of access, money on my phone account. a much better chance at gaining recourse if i was subjected to
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either it sexual abuse or any of a kind of abuse. but within the prison system is the very slippery slope to try to gain justice and inmates have the very limited trust that prison officials unless a prison is run in a way that is transparent and humane in the first place. so there is a medium security men state of prison and visited an ohio number of times run in a very different way than any prisoners ever held in. and now borden is a remarkable person. so different institutions are run in different ways and it makes all the difference in terms of whether a prisoner who is being targeted for abuse whether by staff or another prisoner feels comfortable seeking justice. >> how much contacted you have with the yes on world?
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>> i had five contact visits with my family in 50 years. >> how often were you able to the me with your attorney? >> never they add up to visit. i have a law firm from minneapolis. april lease on the head three maybe four times in 15 years, but i was more concerned with the case work there were doing. if it wanted to come and visit, fine. being in and sell like that you kind of chairs the visits. i was more concerned with the progress that was being made now case. >> it was appointed in director sam mills testimony where it really kind of stunned me. what i heard him say, 4% of the
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federal population in prison suffers from mental illness. i may be off on the number, but not too far off. i have heard numbers of people with mental illness challenges and prisons, state and other allies directly higher than that. but is your impression about the question a mensa illness and incarceration? >> i cannot speak for him and i believe that the fourth person was right. we will went through my mind is it is possible that he was talking about those that fall within that definition of major manley will return numbers about 4%. our mental health means that we don't fall into that major category of 34%, about one-third of our population. intaglio a 70% of the population as some kind of drug and/or alcohol problem to throw into the next.
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>> will we found in the first jury was that many people with mentally challenged people, and i can tell you what levels, but many people found it difficult to follow the rules as well as they should have. any type of resistance on their part because i had it wanted to resist further or mentally challenged. >> let me give you he sample i get when i speak publicly about it. foul was walking down the sidewalk after a bus stop and someone was mumbling to themselves, we would keep walking. antigen there was some type of mental health issue. typically in an institution that would probably be someone if there were disrupting the day-to-day activities of the institution, would get themselves into an administrative some sell. and so i cannot stress this enough in my mind,
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administrative segregation is used and except for the extremely dangerous, used to allow an institution to run more efficiently. it suspends the problem at best but multiplies that it's worth it tells you about that person. and if he had not addressed for government debt to begin with you have done nothing, and that is the problem. was travois and what we're trying to change in colorado and making great progress is how can you hold someone accountable if they don't understand the rule their boat to begin with? it is a no-1 situation. >> senator. >> thank you, mr. chairman. would like to thank each of the witnesses for coming here and for giving your testimony. i would also like to thank you for your advocacy and involvement with the justice system and advocating a behalf of those who are incarcerated.
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in particular, mr. thibodaux, i would like to thank you for your powerful and moving testimony. when i was a lawyer in private practice to have their virginity to represent john thompson who was another individual who was wrongfully convicted of murder in louisiana and then sentenced to death and subsequently exonerate it. it was a powerful experience. personally have the option is to get to know mr. thompson and representative -- represented in the court of appeals in the u.s. supreme court. the chairman's comment to apologize to you. and to thank you for having the courage speak out. it cannot be easy to do. this issue is an issue that raises complicated issues because you have got conflicting interests. mr. ramus, i would like to ask
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you, in your judgment, with what frequency is solitary confinement used for relatively minor infractions? >> i can only at this point give you my impression. my impression is that it is incredibly overused in that area this -- i was talking during the break. really, the process has not changed in over 100 years. i try and think of what is still being done 100 years ago that is being done today that should be done? and i cannot think of anything. and so when i look at that whole process it, again, has become a tool to make a facility run more efficient. in that part of our mission, we are failing because we are sending the matter into the community worse than they came in command and believe that is
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what makes this time in administrative segregation. when i hear some of the comments @booktv this bucket john j. university a few weeks ago on some issues interactions. sitting next to me was the director of the texas corrections in florida or california corrections, some pretty big systems. when i was asked that question by one of the audience members i said -- and appointed to the others, welcome to the knuckle dragging fun club because the public perception is that is what we are. and if i can stress one thing, and i saw mr. samuels trying to stress it, and i would also. at one time early in my law enforcement career i may have had that same impression, but i have to tell you that overall i have never seen a more dedicated professional group of men and women at risk their lives and do it because they want to have a safer community and put
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themselves at great risk to do that. that aside, like any large bureaucracy -- envy tend to be the largest in any state or close to it, you end up with problems. it is how we react to those problems. that is why right now when i really appreciate what he have done by calling this hearing in miami participate because i can tell you that i don't know of any state in the nation that is not taking a hard look at their administrative segregation policy. you have really brought to the forefront. we all understand that as professionals the movement is -- this is not the right way we should be treating people. we get that. will we ask for his help in finding some solutions because there are some that are too dangerous that they cannot be let out. i have to stress, than as a
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small number. >> thank you. in your written testimony you stated that while the goal of your reforms is to decrease the number of offenders house in administrative segregation, there will be a need for a prison within a prison. some vendors will need to be isolated to provide a secure environment for both staff and offenders. it strikes me that a great many people would think that solitary confinement, particularly for an extended amount of time is not an appropriate punishment for relatively minor infractions, but it could well be a necessary tool for those violent inmates and may pose a real threat to the safety of other inmates or guards. these are the members of this panel has interacted with the criminal-justice system in different capacities.
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as carmen in mr. thibodaux as inmates. mr. brouwer administering. mr. dear roche administering and helping bring hope and redemption to those incarcerated mr. levin studying in the important justice issues. the question that i would ask of all five of you is in your judgment based upon the different experiences you have had, is there an appropriate role for solitary confinement? is there a need for it? and in what circumstances it at all? and i would welcome the views of all five witnesses. >> in my mind right now, yes. but in a limited sense. that is because i have said that there are some diseases for
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which there are no cures. that does not mean that we don't keep trying to find the cure for the disease. what i have been told by my clinician's is that we have four to five in our system that if they are let out of administrative segregation they will kill someone. they lay their responsibility on me, and i get that. but i also understand that in all other areas that there is so much room for improvements. let's figure that group out. let's take care of on the other members sitting in administrative segregation that at this point i think there are many other alternatives other than keeping them there. >> i would -- >> yes. that is an actual question. what first of all say we have to distinguish 24 hours 72 hours to the fuse the situation. in texas long-term the average
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time in solitary is four years. some served as long as 24 years. the other issue in texas is thousands are placed in solitary confinement solely for being suspected gang members upon immediately entering prison. i think it is critical that -- and i question the extent to which we are doing and in texas. we have gone down by over 1,000 in the last couple of years since the server bringing this up with a legislature. there is an ongoing independent study that the legislature approved last session. but one of the issues you brought up, commissioner, that is important is if you have somebody in solitary, having them be able to earn an hour more, programming and set so that they can get out or gradually work their way toward more interaction. then said that is a great idea. i think generally speaking the more you can create positive incentives and graduated
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sanctions for inmates to address this issue, that is going to be able to make sure that the people in long-term solitary confinement to be those that have done harm to other inmates or staff for a may statements indicating that they intend to do that. ian, the short term can be used to diffuse. but even that there is diaz collation training, things, just making sure there is another overcrowding. proper ratios to diffuse a lot of the attention of leads to violence behind bars. >> there is a study, senator, i was done in minnesota for a fee based dorm that we have run there for more than ten years. there is a 10-year study of their single inmate that went through that program. every prisoner the went through there, the worst of the worst.
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at the same time we found that there was no deviation between the technical violations of the people that went through that program and the general population in minnesota which had a 37 percent recidivism rate in other words from a human beings are still going to be human beings even if they move away from a criminal lifestyle. so i do think that director's comments about technical violations that we should take to heart, that is the same type of behavior i see in my kids, the same type of behavior see in the workplace. guess what, when we study it and find a bunch of people the mood with a criminal activity they will get it wrong on the technical side of how they get through the day. we need to take that seriously. when i started my statement, if you want to change the culture on the outside in our cities and their states we have got to change the culture on the inside, and i'll was so impressed and encouraged to hear people talking it was going out, mr. chairman, and the director,
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his willingness to go see people doing it right because they're our prisons where the population of people in the prisons have made a decision that they don't want to live in a bad downward spiraling culture. when the of the award is change that culture and use very sparingly the use of segregation were people knowing that they can return back to a positive and improving culture when they straighten there act out, that is where it is best used on temporary, is with the invitation of working your way back because these corrections officers do have the responsibility the same as the people the serve and a fire department for. they have a difficult job. the we have to empower the improved we have to have
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professions. and they're using this power how is it being the doubt and to what end, what the outcome, what metric? we can do up far better job than we our's three you will love the will to eliminate. >> i don't believe the solitary confinement as a rehabilitated value, and therefore i think that it should not be used other than for the most serious security concerns bow. what i have seen most often is disciplinary. this year that women do not go and attack ads say but some do spend years and years in solitary confinement. i can only emphasize that there is nothing rehabilitative about being locked into a tiny box for 23 hours a day. so correctional system should take seriously their responsibility to rehabilitate
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and to direct the tremendous amount of taxpayer dollars of they consume toward that goal. >> in my 15 years in angola it got to apply where we were all being taken to the are one of the time. when i got there they were taking us one tear at a time, but an incident takes place and everyone suffers the consequences, not just the person who commits the incident. and that is a really big minus in the system because it tells everyone else that, well, it does not matter if i am a model inmate because i wouldn't punish someone does something wrong anyway. why should i bother. the solitary confinement is being used for the worst of the worst is assured because safety is the biggest issue in prison. let's face it. really eerie not everyone in
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prison is innocent. so if it is going to be used know your limitations. you know, don't just lock someone up penicillin forget about them. there's still a human being somewhere. they may have mentally shoes. they may have the emotional issues. but if you identify that and and find a way around it then you can deal with it in a humane way does not have to be put on a jump suit and shower shoes and walk them -- locked in the self. the one thing i wanted more of when i was in the cell was time out of the cell. sadly that is not the reality. but if you want to have solitary confinement use it in the most limited capacity possible.
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>> thank you very much. >> thank you mr. chairman. i want to thank all of you for coming in testifying in shedding light of this issue. and i particularly wanted thank mr. thibodaux because your testimony was very -- you have been there. as we say in hawaii, ma law for sharing your terrible experiences. i am concerned about reports that women are confined in solitary for reporting abuse including sexual abuse by the bureau prison staff and especially as i have been working with senator gillibrand and others to address the issue of sexual assault on the military which is under the institution where survivors of sexual assault can also be at the mercy of their supervisors in the chain of command to to the power dynamic and possible threats of retaliation that can exist in both of these
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environments. so want to thank you for your testimony. and i do know that mr. ramus, you noted that 97 percent of our prisoners do get released into the community. so we need to pay attention to what is happening with them because, as you say, they should come out better, not worse than when they were imprisoned. i think that is a sentiment that all of us would share. ms. piper kerman, you heard the responses to my questions about what happens in the instance of the power especially with regard to women and sexual abuse. now, having heard their responses do you think that the bureau of prisons is doing enough. >> no.
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i believe that in every woman's prison or jail that sexual abuse of women and girls by staff as a problem. kentucky are prison in alabama, those abuses have been revealed to be systemic. and very sinister. a staff member who was under suspicion for sexually abusing prisoners would be removed from direct contact with the prisoner or prisoners that he was accused . but there would be there on the property. a person is innocent well proven
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guilty, i believe that. the effect they your abuser may not be far away from you, may be in view. so you might in fact see them all the time. the fear of solitary confinement in isolation, i cannot overemphasize how powerful an incentive that is. tivoli and happens. they do not happen quickly. on a very practical levels you will lose your housing, your present job, you're house of
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privileges. all of these things conspired to really, really silence women. how much they can trust the people to him they are supposed to report abuse there are disincentives. >> the best case scenario is further the male prisoners and all prisoners debt increased access to the upside world. most inclined to trust, not necessarily someone inside the institution.
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access to council is a tremendously important issue the vast majority are indigent. and so their access to council before locked up as poor. access to counsel while locked up is negligible. so those other things i will make the biggest difference. that would make the difference, not just in their ability to access justice while incarcerated but also to be rehabilitated. a small metaphor for the total isolation of incarceration. only put people to the margins and makes it harder for them to return to the community. i don't want to confine my questions. but for the rest of the panel
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that may be one of the oas that we can shed light. i am not seeing this as symptomatic of everything is going on. it's a problem. would you agree that providing more access to the house side rule is one way that we can prevent some of the uses of power from occurring within the system? >> yes. and also an ombudsman, as scandal a schedule of -- sexual abuses, one of the things we did not state which is not a chain of command of any prison warden and actually reported directly to the commission, texas youth commission at that time, the members appointed by the governor, not even a paid director. when you have an ombudsman not an incentive to manage a particular prison unit in these reports are abuses can go to an individual can then independently look into that.
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certainly not everyone was accurate, but some of the mark. l.a. when it is not kept totally within the unit there is more accountability and independence and examine that. >> of the rest of you agree? >> i would say very much so. we find that at prison the more that the prison lets folks and from the outside the less problems exist. it is an inverse relationship. i think that it will continue. and i know that the gravity further state or federal officials to my site firsthand when i was speaker of the house in michigan. we have a mentally ill men -- in may found dead in the sell-off. he will do investigation. we have people.
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i think we need independent voices. people need immediate access, not a month later to a phone call about something that has happened in their life. >> thank you, mr. chairman. my time is up. >> thank you, senator. want to thank everyone who has testified here today. we have over 130 statements that have been submitted for the record. well not read the names of all the groups. i think each and every one. it will be made part of the record without objection. as my staff to look. i am a part of that right. the degree of civilization in society can be judged by entering its prisons. and that is why this hearing in this testimony is so important. we have our charge to deal with
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issues involved in the constitution, civil rights, and human rights. i think all three of those elements come together and we are talking about today. there are some things that struck me as more or less complex. the results would be disastrous. we don't want to see children in solitary confinement or segregation. perhaps in the most extreme cases, but otherwise no. no the vulnerability of women in incarceration and even more so in segregation, and reserve linoleum back to mental illness on the behavior of prisoners. the problems that we run into once put in solitary confinement if you get a chance to read mr. to those testimony do with. he goes there in graphic detail
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elements of segregation or solitary confinement which should not be acceptable under any circumstance, under any circumstance where the food you are given is barely edible, there is virtually no medical care given to those who are in this situation, where -- was struck by the sentence or use it for 15 years you're never seen a nice guy or stars. is one of those grouping realizations when you think about what you have been through the limited access the you had to keep your body fed, limit access you had to outside visitors coming even as you said, you made a conscious tries to you did not want your son to see you there during that circumstance. all of these things suggest you know which goes beyond incarceration. it is -- it crosses the line in terms of what we should do to any human being. that is what this comes to.
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thank you all for being here. this is not the last of these hearings until the problem is resolved. i don't know that it will ever be totally resolved the we are moving in the right half -- right path. says that we are starting to move and the right direction. i commend the state's. i think senator crews will join me in saying many states have shown a real willingness to take this issue on even more than we have and it is important that we continue that and we learn from them in the process. so we will leave the record open get some written questions. if you could respond in return we would appreciate it very much. thank you for being here. this meeting stand adjourned. [inaudible conversations]
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host[captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2014] [inaudible conversations] the next "washington journal," we will look at democratic strategy. jim himes will be with us. senator john hoban of north dakota takes your questions about the keystone xl pipeline and will be joined by author and writer jonathan alter
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to discuss his recent article about the affordable care act. is live on journal" c-span everyday day at 7:00 a.m. eastern. a couple of live events to tell you about today on our companion network, c-span3. the senate armed services subcommittee looks at the relationship between military sexual assault, posttraumatic stress disorder, and suicide at 10 a.m. eastern. you can join in that conversation on facebook and twitter. 2 p.m. eastern, it's a hearing on the economic effect of alzheimer's disease and the state of all summers research before a senate appropriations subcommittee. >> i think there are some myths out there.
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people think the maraschino cherry is a preserved product. it's no different than a pickled cherry and the process is no different than the types of sulfates you use in making wine. -- i would not a call it a healthy product but something that is a tasty treat. >> what you see here is cherries in various stages of process. the cherries that come in, even though we put them in water, they will still have brian and in the fruitbrine and they will know through extensive washington yet the salt back out of the fruit. the process of making maraschino cherries as you are taking a brine and soaking it in a stronger and stronger sugar and colored solution. it is over the course of that schedule that you will see the color intensity pick up as the sugar content picks up. here is some fruit that is very
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early in the process. it is lightly colored. you can see how much darker color that fruit is which is farther along. it gives you an idea on a normal you will see yellow, take, deep red. of the infusion and where it is in the process. weekend, book tv and american history tv look behind the history of literary life of salem, oregon saturday at noon on c-span2 and sunday at 2:00 on c-span3. next, political analyst charlie cook talks about the midterm elections on the 20 16th presidential contest. he spoke yesterday to the national association for business economics policy conference. it's about 45 minutes.
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>> they both have extraordinary resumes and careers here in washington and as political handicappers, and greg worse with don cohen former vice chairman of the federal reserve
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and economic analysis. cook report is phenomenal. he puts into his own personal life stories of how he has come to feel about some of the changes we are dealing with in our country now. both of these people are really good at being nonpartisan. i think they might have anger at both parties at this point in time. .as we all do they also really cut to the quick and get to the truth of where we are at. greg, is going first, and they have divided it up already how they will do this and please welcome greg and charlie cook. [applause] >> thank you, great to be here. i see all these friends in the audience. it's wonderful to see all of you.
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i went around the country last year giving a talk that washington was looking pretty good for investors. people in the audience looked at me like i was on drugs. i said that all year last year and i will say it again this morning. i think the three big themes in this city are very positive for the markets. you probably know what i will say but i will just quickly point out that there will not be a crisis this year in washington. both parties are determined to avoid one. there will not be a default crisis or a budget shutdown, nothing like that for at least another year. secondly, i don't have to tell this sophisticated group that people like diana and stewart know this is one of the most dovish defense in our lifetime and i don't see that changing. in my business, seeing institutional investors, there is a phrase that is gospel and fed.is-you don't fight the i think the fed will stay
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extremely dovish. i work with don cohen and i think he would agree. if we get a rotten unemployment number on march 7, the possibility of maybe doing 5 billion instead of 10 billion will be on the table. i will not predicted but i think that despite all the media hype about a divided fed -- look at the power in the fed, it is all dovish. this is a very dovish fed and i don't think that will change. that is a second positive theme. the third positive theme that people around the country just do not acknowledge, and they really do look at me like i'm on medication when i tell them, the deficit is falling pretty sharply. this mode of fiscal restraint is grossly underappreciated. i will talk about that in a minute or two. this mood of fiscal restraint will persist as long as one
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thing continues and that is republican control of the house. toill leave it to dr. cook give us his analysis of where the houses added after the 2014 election. i think this theme has legs and will continue for quite some time. before this,d me what about all the gridlock in washington? i would agree that we look dysfunctional in this city but i would also say that we have had some fairly interesting breakthroughs in the last two or three months. we got a budget deal with paul ryan and patty murray. i think paul ryan is growing as a politician, not as reflexively conservative. i think he was willing to even look at some modest revenue increases. we got a farm bill. it wasn't great but we got a farm bill and most importantly, you see clear signs from the republican leadership in the house that they did not want a
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crisis over the debt ceiling. we had a meeting right after thanksgiving with one of the leaders in the house, one of the republican leaders, and he was quite candid. he said we hurt our brand and our sober with the shutdown and the debt ceiling uncertainty and we are not going to do that again. we are determined to focus on one issue and one issue only and that issue, of course, is obamacare. the republicans feel they have been given a gift from god. why do you mess up your narrative on obamacare by precipitating a crisis? there is not going to be one. i think gridlock has diminished and who knows? maybe in a few months there will be a poll that shows that the congressional job approval rating has gone from 12-19%. it could be a dramatic improvement in the way the public views congress. as part of this strategy on the republican side, i think there
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toa consensus to do nothing, basically run out the clock ahead of the election. this could come back to backfire, in my opinion, on the republicans if they increasingly are viewed as standing for very little other than being against things. eric cantor who is growing as a politician has talked quite openly in the last few weeks about not wanting the republicans to be the party of no. he wants the republicans to be for at least some kind of reform. when i look at the issues, i will quickly run down some of the issues that are before congress this year. on most of them, i see a very dim likelihood of any significant action. tax reform -- you will see a lot about this and next 48 hours as dave camp, the ways and means committee, unveils a very ambitious bill. lots of interesting features
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including a little surtax on the wealthy that might go against republican orthodoxy. he talks about maybe even nd income to abo surtax which is a very controversial subject. he would do away with a lot of safer tax breaks, as you know. this is something that has made most republicans very uneasy. they do not want to have attention drawn to anything that controversial. i would say the chances of tax reform this year are at best 10%. i'm being generous to even say that. next year with all ryan as head of the ways and means committee, things could change. then there is immigration. being an optimist who would like to see a bill, i think there is a chance that things could get a little more serious after the primaries. midsummer, when so many republicans are going to look over their shoulder to a right-wing challenger, i think immigration is totally off the
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table as an issue that could move. minimum wage -- i don't see that at all. congressional budget office which everyone likes to eat up on now has concluded that it could cost jobs. i think minimum wage is an issue for the states, not an issue that will move in congress. by the way, with each passing day, i think chances have diminished that you can get an extension of unemployment benefits retroactive actor january 1. on a wide range of other issues -- fannie mae and freddie mac, i don't see a reform their it that cash cow. they are providing so much money to reduce the deficit. you have a triumvirate of forces reducing the deficit from the outside. then he may, freddie mac, and jpmorgan. i thought -- i think that may continue for a while. cyber security -- you will hear a lot about that. the chances of more data breaches this year are 100%.
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there will be more and probably will be more as we are sitting here this morning. the chances of a bill are pretty dim. you get the sense that everywhere you look the legislative agenda is looking pretty meager. i don't totally rule out a bill that eric cantor and others are talking about giving tax incentives to companies that hire and train young workers. there could be something like that but i think there will not the a lot. one final thing i want to throw out -- a theme of mine that i have been talking about for the last two or three months -- it leaves me puzzled. here we have an economy that grew in the second half by 3.5% or something like that. that was a rise in gdp and was not all inventory accumulation. inre was real improvement many areas looked good and we see a budget deficit falling sharply.
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i will pick on the cbo since everybody does. i thought their receipt estimates for the next two or three years were a little stingy. no matter how you slice it, the deficit as a percentage of gdp is headed below three percent in the next year or two. you see all this good news yet no one in this city wants to acknowledge it or take credit for it. it's the damnedest thing i have ever seen. let me finish with a comment on three sources in this city that seemed unwilling to acknowledge the fact that things have gotten better. could this be a self-fulfilling prophecy? pricing -- not surprisingly, the media. it feels you can sell more newspapers and get better ratings when you talk about the negative. during the holidays, my blood pressure's right about 20 points. i saw two stories talking about the recession as if it were still underway.
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for christ's sake, the recession ended in june of 2009 yet you still here in the rest -- you still hear that press talk about the recession. they continue to harp on the negative. aresecond factor in this the republicans. if you are republican come you don't want to talk about the obama economy starting to pick up. the irony is that the pickup has been quite pronounced in the midwest which is filled with republican governors whether it is snyder in michigan or pants in indiana or kasich in ohio or scott walker in wisconsin. you are seeing republican governors presiding over a recovery that the national party almost refuses to acknowledge. if anyone has been in san francisco recently -- i was talking to stewart and others -- in san francisco, the bay area's on fire. it is almost a bubble out there in silicon valley yet the
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republican still have a narrative of how terrible things are. my republican friends, why don't you guys take some credit for the deficit falling? of it is your insistence on fiscal restraint get the message to the aces that things are out of control and we are profligate. things have gone totally off a cliff in washington on spending when in truth, it's exactly the opposite. this year, we will have spent less on discretionary spending than the last year of the osha administration. -- last year of the georgian w bush administration. ae third area where you see refusal to acknowledge the positive are the democrats. it's almost as if they started to say that things are starting to get better it would diminish their chances for more social spending whether it's a minimum wage hike or unemployment that if it's or food stamps.
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i think the democrats feel if they talk up the economy, it could actually hurt their narrative, their pitch for more benefits. god for bid and a democrat would stay -- would say in public or the white house would host a little that the stock market went up by 30% last year. i don't hear that. there is an aversion to that even though i think about 50% of all adults have an investment in the stock market. it's a curious phenomenon in this town. i have been in california last few days where there is a genuine rebound especially in the bay area. you come back here and there is still talk about gloom and doom. i will end with that are plex and comment. that -- that perplexing comment. continues depends on what happens in congress, thank you. [applause]
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for that generous introduction and thank you all for inviting us here. for me to speak to a room full of economists, this is like social climbing for me. i'm one of the few people who can say that. i see a number of friends. washington, they watch politics like its sports and they watch individual races like fantasy football or rotisserie baseball or something. i'm sure they find it entertaining and i think i used to feel that way. but then less so these days. what's really important? is the governing configuration going to be after this election? what is 2016 look like? at least for this next election
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and i think for 2015 and 2016, you can make for assumptions. number one, the house will stay in republican hands. you could put a number on it. whatever.9% or extremely high probability that the house will stay republican. is 55 two, the senate democrats and 45 republicans. seatepublicans have a five gain to be 50/50. with a great deal of certainty i can say that after this election, the majority party will have 53 or fewer seats and probably 52 or fewer. i think it's a pretty good bet the majority party will have 51 .eats or fewer whic the senate will be more or less 50 -- 50.
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mind -- the third assumption, president --ma's job approval rating he cannot run for reelection but it's how we measure clout -- his approval ratings have been averaging 41% for several months. he seems to be in a narrow trading range of dropping down as low as 38% and as high as 46%. more often than not, 41% with about a 50 two percent disapproval rating. this is a bad place to be. it's a bad place for a party going into reelection. the fourth thing -- i should say the president has high floor and a low ceiling. there is not a lot of elasticity in his job approval rating, not as much as certain other presidents. i don't see much chance of his
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getting out of that range any time between now and the end of the term for an extended. of time. the fourth assumption is that there is no reason to believe his relations with congress will get any better regardless with what happens this election. horrific, there is a relationship with tea party republicans. it's a bad relationship with the established republicans. i would say his relations with his own party on capitol hill are roughly comparable with jim the archers -- with jimmy carter's, in other words awful. in the case of his own party, it's not particularly ideological or anything like that. justreally more he temperamentally does not like talking to them. he does not like being around them. he is around them as little as possible.
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we sort of have to remember that here is a guy that was a sickly a full-time senator for one year 2005 -- 2000year, six was the number one circuit for democrats around the country and was gone a good bit and 2007 and 2008, he was running for president. he doesn't know these people and doesn't particularly like them. if you grab five house democrats off the street and take out the top five leadership, four out of five would tell you they have never had an obama white house staffer step in their office. four out of five would tell you they have never had a conversation with the resident other than pleasantries or been in a room with him with fewer than 15 people. if you read the books about lyndon johnson and his relationship with congress and what he was willing to do to get things done, it's just a dramatic difference. lyndon johnson was a creature of
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congress and a former majority leader so that's fine. who hadut ronald reagan never served a day of his life in congress and never worked a day in washington? namedbably could not have you 25 members of congress but turned out to have a very effective relationship with congress. it's a matter of temperament and personality. if you don't want to be around them, it shows. that's why this relationship with congress with even his own party in congress is very weak. that is sort of the bottom-line of how i see this year and the next two years after that. it you like the last year or two, you will love the next three. democrats at 51 in the senate are republicans at 51
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in the house, they are pretty locked up with rules. that is how i look at it. the thing to remember in the 93% of all the republicans in the house are sitting in districts that mitt romney carried. 96% of all the democrats in the house are in districts that barack obama carried. is redistricting but not all. some of it is population searching where people choose to live. where do most democrats want to live? they live in urban areas and college towns. where do republicans live? everywhere else, outer suburbs, rural small towns, the exurbs. even if you did not have malicious line drawing, there's a certain sorting out the takes place. we look at the last four elections -- you had in 2006 and
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2008 back to back democratic tidal wave of elections. of battle in 2012 so any republican sitting in a district that god did not intend a republican to have pretty much got washed out. conversely, 2010 was a horrific election for democrats because it was the biggest losses since 1938 for either party. it was almost biblical losses. if you were a democrat sitting in a district at a democrat should have, you probably got washed out in 2010. there has been a culling of the herd and there are very few members sitting in competitive districts anymore. for most members of congress if you are a democrat, you are in far more danger of losing a primary to a more liberal
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democrat or if you are republican, losing an election to a more conservative republican. it is kind of done until the draw the maps again back in 2021. the democrats are way overexposed in the senate. it's a matter of having 21 seats -- you always have to think in six-year cycles in the senate. whatever happened six years ago, that's when the table was set for that election. if a party has a fabulous election one year, six years later, they go in overexposed. 21-15, five open seats they have to defend without the advantage of incumbency but most importantly, there are four democratic seats wheredifferent states
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mitt romney won by 15 points or more. by 14at romney carried points. six democratic seats are up in really red states. it is a high degree of exposure. when you walk through, there are a couple of open seats that are pretty much gone. south carolina and west virginia will almost certainly go democrat. there are a bunch of democrats facing tough races. alaska, arkansas, louisiana, north carolina, an open seat in michigan and to a lesser extent, another in iowa. none of the democrats are gone or's. they are facing extremely difficult races. the conventional wisdom in washington is that mark pryor
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from washington is toast. when you fee put a piece of white toast in oven, it has that beige look. it is not toast but it is pre-toast. [laughter] the numbersthrough you say, republicans should troubling get six. they've got to they have to defend, and open seat in georgia which to hands on whether republicans nominate what i call a normal chromosome alignment republican or whether they nominate one that my wife is trying to get me to stop using the term "whacko." i'm going with exotic and potentially problematic. this has been a theme in many senate races in recent years were there has been a republican who, if they had run, would have had a fabulous chance of winning but maybe they didn't or maybe
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they didn't run and were not able to get through a primary because they lost to someone exotic and potentially problematic. democrats have figured this out and we saw one case in missouri last time where you had three republicans running. one would have probably beaten the democratic incumbent, claire mccaskill, pretty easily. one probably would've beaten her but then there was one that was exotic. so democrats went in and ran tv ads during the republican akin ofaccusing todd being too conservative for missouri. in a republican primary, throw me in that writer pat. --briar patch. they stared the republican nomination to the one guy who was capable of seizing defeat from the jaws of victory and successfully did so.
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you will see some of that going on this time as well. mitch mcconnell, if you did a poll today, it would probably be 46%, it's a close race. it's not because he got 53% of the vote last time. in many states in 2008, obama was doing really well and john mccain was really hurting. that affected the performance of republican candidates but not so much in kentucky. obama was not -- kentucky was not on obama state. macconnell got 53% of the vote last time. if mitch mcconnell loses this race this year, i think it is not because they will be getting more democrats in the state then there were six years ago or liberals in the state. it will be because there were three or more percentage points of people in kentucky that would vote against any leader in
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congress of either party. i hate washington, i hate congress, everybody says you are one of the most powerful visible leaders in congress, i must hate you more than the rest of them. that's the challenge that mitch mcconnell has. to the extent that he can do things that might help him in a general election, it can exacerbate his situation with the tea party primary challenge. it's a pretty awkward deal. it will be extremely close. if you smoosh all this together, looks like republicans should be able to get their six seats. this is what holds me back -- in the last five elections nationwide -- 2004, 2 thousand
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6, 2008, 2012 -- five elections nationwide, 170 races, republicans the fetid a grand total of three senate democratic incumbents in five elections nationwide. they beat blanche lincoln in arkansas, tom daschle in south dakota, russ feingold in wisconsin, that's it. during the same five elections, democrats defeated 11 republican senate incumbents, three verses 11. that is kind of interesting when you consider that one of those five was 2010 which was a fabulous year for republicans where they picked up six senate seats but they only knocked off one senate democrat incumbent that year. there is something going on that republicans have had over the last decade, real problem knocking off democratic incumbents and they've got to knock off two or three of those this time.
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maybe it's the same thing, maybe not. our newsletter, we do an updated weekly through the election cycle, the races all over the country. going into election day 2010, a great year for republicans, we had seven senate races that we called tossups. republicans lost five out of seven. interesting. 2012, we had 10 tossup senate races that year. republicans lost eight out of 10. the close ones -- up0, the republicans picked six seats but if you had read "time magazine" a month before the election you would have known they would have picked up
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most of those of the close races have not been breaking their way. is this because of the corporate branding problems? to a certain extent. with because of problems minority voters, young voters, women voters, moderate voters? yes. is the problem nominating the right people or getting the right people to run? it is all of the above. but for them to get to 51 seats, they will have to change their karma from where it has been lately. maybe it happens and maybe it doesn't. how much longer do i have? down and i'msit going to desperately hope that at some point somebody asks me about the democratic and republican races in 2016 because
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i cannot possibly do it without blowing the hell out of my time slot. i am available to answer any questions. [laughter] let's just say that. thank you all very much. [applause] your questionse down and send them to me and i will take the privilege of moderating this panel and asked charlie -- what about 2016 presidential races? >> which one? you can take this wherever you want to go. c-span?at [laughter] i love you guys. [laughter] i do, actually. is this charlie candidate or charlie unfiltered? >> i like charlie unfiltered.
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republicansth first. i had a problem with this notion that chris christie was the front-runner for the republican nomination for the -- before the whole bridge thing. field think of a football and the right end of the football field, do i think it's smart for republicans to nominate somebody who is on the 35 yard line, someone who can win among conservatives but also go into the middle, absolutely? the heart and soul of the republican nomination process is in the base. think about some of the people that republicans seriously considered nominating before they finally settled on mitt romney, the guy with all the money and qualifications.
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cain,e bachmann, herman rick santorum, rick perry, newt gingrich. we will play again. -- a game. bachmann, herman cain, rick santorum, rick perry, nude gingrich, chris christie. a lot of you have kids so remember the sesame street song -- one of these things is not like the others. [laughter] to look at alld these people that they desperately wanted to nominate at various points in 2012 and then jump all the way over to chris christie. we have seen parties make huge swings but it was usually after they had a crash and burn election. incourse, after goldwater
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1964, republicans moved to the middle and nominated richard butn and won the presidency they had a crash and burn election first. democrats have a crash and burn -- in 1972 1970's to with george mcgovern. republicans have not had a crash and burn election since then. the other super big name is jeff bush -- jeb bush and i think he was a terrific honor of florida and would be well-positioned. is that whole last name thing and i think he would love to run but when push comes to shove, i doubt if even would run. there is a lot of family reasons. his wife despises politics and hates every moment he spends doing it according to people close to him. running for president with a non-supportive spouse -- wow, that is kind of hard. his daughter has had personal issues.
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you don't want to throw your kid out there. the sun is running for land commissioner in texas and getting his career off the ground. you don't want to lay this on your kid. for a wide variety of reasons, he will look at it and want to run and then not pull the trigger. when you look at the republican field, i come at it with first you've got the recidivists -- mike huckabee and rick santorum going after the social -- cultural thing and rick perry wherever he runs [laughter] he said inlection, 2012, i wanted to run for president in the worst way and i did. [laughter] running tois as much get the monkey off his back and we will see how that does. huckabeeorum and mike appeal to the same people. then you get into the tea party is what wed ted cruz
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thought rand paul was going to be. he comes into the senate building with an uzi and trying to be the most disruptive force he can be. in a presidential race, the establishment -- remember how the establishment during the time when newt gingrich was the front runner and the republican establishment just surrounded him and kicked the hell out of the guy. the establishment cannot dictate who will be the republican nominee that they can sure as hell stop somebody. there is nobody -- i have been in washington for almost 42 years -- nobody has come to washington and kicked off more people in both parties faster than ted cruz has. that has gotten him a lot of great press among conservatives but that will bite him on the rear and. rand paul is the guy that surprised everybody.
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he has proven to be far more pragmatic, more politically sophisticated, smoother. forget his father. this guy is not at all like that. is he incredibly conservative? yes, but this guy does not come through as a not. -- nut. a team partyan as candidate for the senate but since then, he has been very conservative but not so much a tea party person. he came out for immigration reform very strongly. he had a big blowback from conservative so let's see if he moves beyond that. i am curious if in a lame-duck session, if immigration does come up and get through and whether it takes that monkey off his back a little bit. we will say. then you get to the four republican governors that are
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most often mentioned -- bobby jindal from louisiana, john kasich from ohio, mike hence from indiana, scott walker from wisconsin. i could give you the long form. i would say the guy to watch is scott walker out of that group. when you look at the establishment capitol hill types, i don't think there will be one. paul ryan will become chairman of the ways and means and rob portman will stay in the senate and hope he gets picked as a running mate that i don't think there will be a republican capitol hill slot. if i had to -- the accuracy rate for prognostication for party nominations is pretty much zero. i would say what's rand paul and scott walker, rand paul for the tea party side and scott walker for the really conservative non-tea party side. there is not enough out there for a not quite so conservative legacy republican argue we used
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to know. there is practically no room for them right now. >> i will ask greg this, too. you didn't mention about the democratic race, if there is one. the odds of 61% that hillary clinton will be the runner. is this a foregone conclusion about hillary clinton? thesecuracy forecasting things is wrong, how does this shape up on the democratic side? you mentioned the chance of immigration reform in lame deck. -- in lame duck. what do you think? >> i would defer to charlie and is worth knowing that both of us do not get paid by the word. we get paid nothing. >> not here anyway. this is the believe in free
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speech, how would you like to give one? [laughter] >> i will defer to charlie on that. ithink i share his view that is not a sentient that she will run. she willnot a cinch run. i have heard you say that. >> if this is a political decision, she is running. take it to the bank. i would argue that a lot of bush things like the jeb example are personal decisions as well as political. there is a 30% chance or so she does not run. is logic is, right now, she 66 years old, she will turn 67 later this year in october. 68 inll be 67 going on 2015. she will be 69 two weeks before
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the election in 2016. can you get elected at 69? of course you can, that was the same age ronald reagan was in 1980. i'm not arguing for a moment that age would be an issue that would be effectively used against her. arest think that when you making non-year commitments when you're 67 years old, you have to think long and hard how you feel about it. how do i feel up to it? she had an incredibly grueling job as secretary of state. towards the end, she had some health issues and things,. i'm not saying it disqualifies her because i don't like it does but she has to ask if she feels up to it. 20 11, whenmber,
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she was running for the nomination, i spent one day on the road with her campaign in iowa. athink we left the hotel 6:15 a.m. and got back about 1:30 a.m. the next morning. it beat the hell out of me and i am a lot younger and she was doing that every day. i just had to do it once. i think that nobody knows better than she does how hard it is to run for president. i think there is a one in three chance that she doesn't run. joe biden turns 74 after the election in 2016. she would be 77 at the end of her second term. think aboutthat and if she feels like it. if she runs, the odds are overwhelming she would be the republican -- the democratic nominee. [laughter] she would have to deal with how
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she becomes more relevant to the future then to the past. she cannot remember on a platform of how good the economy was when her husband was resident back in the 1990's. i'm sure she knows that. the youngest voters will be two years old when her husband left office. she would have to run a very different campaign than she ever has. >> i think she has to differentiate herself to a certain degree from barack obama and his 41% job approval rating. how does she do that without alienating obama supporters? that will not be easy. >> these questions go in similar directions. there are a lot of them on the debt ceiling and brinksmanship being over for the moment. how long will the honeymoon last? is austerity dead forever? what is the next step?
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the other one is will john boehner keep his job after the next election? can he manage the factions any better in the house? is the house on the cusp of implosion? on these issues of the drama that we have a break from, when is it coming back. my father told her that john boehner just got a vacation post in florida. is wondering if he is leaving. >> i will do the debt ceiling fiscal stuff and charlie will do john boehner. we don't have another debt ceiling fight for another year or so. we are going through the fall election into early 2015 so we don't have to worry about that. i'm not sure there will be a budget this year or not. i don't see any kind of budget showdown. as far as whether fiscal austerity is dead, i go back to these two great themes that i mentioned at the beginning.
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got a very accommodating fed for two or three years and fiscal restraint for at least another two or three years. until 2021.istrict i think it's a pretty safe bet that this house stays republican for a while. as long as it does, people forget, there are seven more years of the sequester. they tinkered around with it a little bit and reduced it a bit revenueoffsetting raisers, spending cuts but sequester is not gone. i would argue that the discretionary outlays stay flat. the big issue going into the later part of the decade is whether anyone has the courage to take on entitlements. the evidence in the last month is quite discouraging on that front. paul ryan had a little tiny cola change for military retirees and it blew up in his face and they had to undo it. last week, the white house abandoned its effort to have a
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small cola change in cpi for social security. that is the real elephant in the room and whether we address that later in the decade is the question. spending staysic down for the next 10 years. >> john boehner and his wife recently bought a condo in south florida but they have been going down there for years. i have been thinking for six months or so that speaker aynor would probably step down and resign after the election but not before. you never want to be a lame duck speaker for any extended period of time. life,s a guy that loves they were never going to carry john boehner out of the house in a pine box. he has been speaker of the house for four years, it's an enormous
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honor, there is not a higher honor in congress than to be speaker of the house. thetired of dealing with caveman caucus. i'm out of here. i kind of think there's a good chance -- if you watch the majority leader eric over the last year or so he is increasingly looking at acting more like somebody that is about to take over power. the adversarial relationship they had four years ago was gone. expect that a year from today, we will probably we looking at speaker counter, not speaker boehner and it's not that anybody beats john boehner. it's just that he will say this has been a lot of fun and there are golf courses yet to play.
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here are vintages yet to sip. >> i want to give my deep thanks to my two friends. a lot.quote them they say it so colorfully and articulately. they make me a better economist for it so thank you both and we appreciate you being here. [laughter] [applause] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2014] >> the senate armed services subcommittee looks into the relationship between military sexual assault, posttraumatic stress disorder, and suicide at 10 a.m. eastern. you can join in the conversation on facebook and twitter.
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at 2 p.m. eastern, there is a hearing on the economic effect of alzheimer's disease and the state of all summers research before the senate appropriations subcommittee. in a few moments, a look at today's headlines plus your calls and tweets live on "washington journal." the house is in session for general speeches at 10:00 eastern with legislative business at noon. the agenda today includes a bill that would delay irs rules and limit the political activities of certain tax-exempt groups. in 45 minutes, we will look at the democrats legislative agenda for the midterm elections. representative jim himes of connecticut will be with us and he is finance chairman of the democratic campaign committee. republican senator john hoban joins us at 830 eastern to take questions about the keystone xl
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pipeline. we will be joined by author and writer jonathan alter to discuss his recent article about the affordable care act. "washington journal" is next. good morning. it's wednesday, february 26. here are your headlines on capitol hill. house democrats are moving to vote on ace the minimum-wage increase. john boehner spent an hour at the white house is today discussing economic matters, the affordable care act and other issues with president obama. president obama warned the afghan president that time is running out to come up with a deal for u.s. troops in that country gone 2014. -- beyond what he 14. we will be talking

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